IoD Suffolk Branch Chair Introduction
Your name: Elizabeth Pearce
Your title/role and company name: Commercial Director, Omega Ingredients Ltd.
Your IoD branch: Suffolk
Your IoD Branch Ambassador role: Chair
Your social media
Q: How long have you been involved with the IoD?
At least three years
Q: Can you tell us a little about your career to date?
My career pathway grew around the work I undertook at British Standards Institute Quality Assurance Division. I Trained as a Quality Auditor and ultimately became a Lead Assessor, this really triggered my interest in Business systems and structure’s as well as developing leadership skills. It also taught me how to look at things objectively and report on key issues in a non-contentious manner- valuable skills for any leader.
For over 25 years I have worked in businesses which I have part owned, quickly gaining an extensive knowledge of all the aspects of operating and growing a business. My Nottingham Trent MBA focused on the strategy of growing SME and I was fortunate enough to be able to put that all into practise.
Over the last 15 years I have developed the structure of Omega Ingredients to support its rapid growth, this included: -
1. Developing strategic plans and obtaining funding to support major growth. Resulting in continuous 3 year rolling business plans.
2. Implementing software and IT systems to automate various functions e.g. Sales and purchase order processing and more currently Barcoding systems for our factory.
3. Implementing and gaining registration to British Retail Consortium Global Food Standard and ISO9000. This enabled continuous improvement in the business along with a clear structure for training and development of our team. Driving “getting it right first time” philosophy and culture into the business.
4. Planned Progression- I introduced Graduate training programmes into the business. Established an Operations Management Team to reduce operational demands on Directors, set up monthly meetings coaching the team and the individuals to a point where they have now taken control of day to day operations.
5. Governance, ensuring Leadership risk assessments were undertaken to help set Objectives for the business and ensure that they were delivered. Formalised running of Board meetings and recruited a Non-Executive Chairman onto the Board to help improve Governance within the business.
Q: What do you hope to achieve as an IoD Chair?
I would like to see the profile of Manufacturing raised in the county across the IOD network and to see more peer to peer networking across different sectors. I believe that running and growing a business holds the same challenges regardless of the sector or size and any directors living this experience are most able to help each other by sharing their experience, knowledge and supporting each other.
Q: If you could give your 21 year old self some advice what would it be?
To understand that when people fail it is not always a terrible thing but something that facilitates growth and offers new opportunities.
Q: What keeps you busy outside of work?
I love to walk my dog along Felixstowe seafront, get stuck into a good book and I am a regular at the theatre. I like to keep myself on my toes with a series of objectives each year of the key things I want to achieve both professionally and personally and that not only keeps me busy but gets me trying new things. My family are also very important to me and with 2 daughters in Sydney and one in Paros in Greece I am not short of a holiday home.
Q: Are there any business related or policy issues that keep you awake at night?
As many of you know being a director is a 24/7 job and self-care is extremely important, you don’t switch off when it’s your own business and sometimes that ‘Eureka’ moment comes in the middle of the night so it’s important to find a way to manage personal stress and look after yourself. This filters down into the entire culture of your business and impacts on your professional and personal life.
Q: Why do you think business leaders should join the IoD?
We simply cannot be experts in every skill required to run a successful business and the sooner anyone can learn this and let go of the things that may not be their strong suit the more their business and personal success will thrive. Membership of the IOD offers access to expertise, especially
in relation to the requirements of Governance. Networking meetings allow you to meet Directors in other fields who can share their experiences and assist with problems.
Increasingly the IOD are offering training programmes which are ideal for either new Directors or those who have career goals to become a Director, this is extremely valuable if you are planning progression through your business. The link through to student members allows us the opportunity to assist and advise young people on the real opportunities which exist in business and especially the exciting opportunities which exist in Manufacturing.
I personally attended the Non-Executive Director Course, found it extremely valuable, also afterwards inviting one of the other attendees to join our Board in the role of Non-Executive Chairman.